Obama reiterates support for tort reform

By Chris Rizo | Sep 15, 2009


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- President Barack Obama again has said he is willing to address problems with medical malpractice lawsuits in his push for a national health care overhaul.

In a Sunday appearance on CBS's "60 Minutes" taped Friday, the president reiterated his call to lawmakers to pass a bipartisan bill aimed at what he said was ailing the American health care system.

"We're not going to get a better opportunity to solve our health-care issues than we have right now," he said on the program.

Obama has directed U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to restart a program to use mediation to resolve medical malpractice lawsuits.

"I specifically said that I think we can work together on a bipartisan basis to do something to reduce defensive medicine, where doctors are worrying about lawsuits instead of worrying about patient care," Obama said.

The president said also in the interview, which aired Sunday night, that he expects Congress to pass "a good health care bill," even amid staunch Republican opposition to some principles sought by Democrats.

"I believe that we will have enough votes to pass not just any health care bill, but a good health care bill that helps the American people, reduces costs, actually over the long-term controls our deficit. I'm confident that we've got that," Obama said.

As for GOP opposition to his key domestic initiative, Obama said: "There are those in the Republican party who think the best thing to do is just to kill reform. That that will be good politics."

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